Brought To You By Johnny Earthquake and The Moondogs
To say the Natchitoches band, Johnny Earthquake and The Moondogs, has accomplished a lot and come a long way in their nearly thirty years of existence would be quite the understatement. They are perhaps the most popular and in-demand party show band in the region.
Members of the group profess to be “Over the Moon” about celebrating the Moondogs’ thirty years in 2024; the band is embarking on its appropriately named, “Over the Moon Tour,” in honor of the anniversary. The Moondogs have dates booked all over Louisiana, into Texas, Mississippi, and as far away as Pensacola, Florida.
Rodney Harrington, the band’s leader, and whose, “day job,” as he calls it, is being a Natchitoches Attorney, attributes the band’s longevity to its fun-loving spirit and ability to change with the times. “Although I’m the only original member, the band has been in quite a long period of stability,” said Harrington. “Most of the band members now have been with us multiple years, some as many as 15 or 20 years. That adds a lot of stability and helps keep the band tight. We know each other so well that we know what we’re going to do almost before it’s done. Also, we’re constantly adding new and different songs to our repertoire to keep it fresh for us and the crowds.”
Adam Guillory, a teacher from Pineville and the youngest member of the band, who has been with the group for more than 10 years, says that The Moondogs’ formula for success is kind of a recipe of factors: “You mix good music, songs you know and can sing along to, played in a competent manner, high energy, with crowd interaction, stir it all up, and you’re going to wind up
with a gumbo called Johnny Earthquake and The Moondogs.”
“In fact,” Guillory continued, “we refer to our show and the music that we perform as ‘The Stuff That Screams Are Made Of!’ That says it all.”
The Moondogs have performed all over the South and as far north as West Virginia and have released several CDs, to wide-spread critical acclaim. One respected music journalist referred to The Moondogs as, “Quite simply, Louisiana’s best show band.” (City Lights magazine)
Another one gushed, “No other Louisiana band can touch them.” (Portfolio magazine)
Over the years, the band and its members have won many awards such as winning “Best Overall Band,” and “Crowd Favorite” at a regional band competition in Shreveport, being named “Best Band in Cenla,” winning a state-wide award from Louisiana Special Olympics, and being named “Best of the Best” wedding bands by The Knot, which is the nation’s leading wedding
In fact, the band has been placed in The Knot’s Hall of Fame of wedding bands which signifies their being named as the “Best of the Best” wedding bands nationwide for at least eight years running.
“What’s funny about that,” said Chuck Lacroix from Alexandria, the band’s trumpeter, who also lists his “day job” as “Attorney,” is we don’t consider ourselves a “Wedding Band,” per se.
“Oh sure, we play a lot of weddings and love doing them and, apparently, some people think we’re among the best at it, but to us we’re just a high-energy show band that plays great music and brings the party wherever we go.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a wedding, festival, Mardi Gras Ball or party, private event, or a concert on the beach in Pensacola before thousands of people (which the band has played annually for over 10 years), we’re just playing fun, high energy shows and having a great time doing it. I think the fact that we love what we do and are having a great time translates to the crowd.
“We also feel that is what contributes to our longevity.” Lacroix continued, “It’s pretty humbling and satisfying that after all these years we are still in such high demand.”
The Moondogs are particularly popular with Mardi Gras Krewes, annually playing balls and parties across the South.
In addition to the band’s Hall of Fame induction, Harrington has been inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Hall of Master Folk Artists.
Johnny Earthquake and The Moondogs’ travels and notoriety have given them the opportunity to perform with some of the some of the luminaries in the music business, people like: Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, James Burton and D. J. Fontana, along with Estelle Brown, all members of Elvis Presley’s band, Rick Derringer, Grammy winner, Wayne Toups, Grammy winner, Jo-El Sonnier, Joe Stampley, Sam the Sham, Mitch Ryder, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Trombone Shorty and many, many more.
Johnny Earthquake has performed as a guest artist with The Beach Boys, The Doobie Brothers, Percy Sledge, Badfinger, and many others.
The band even has its own radio show! Harrington is the host of the syndicated and popular, “Jammin’ with Johnny — The Johnny Earthquake Show,” which is the only radio show in north Louisiana to regularly feature live and recorded local and area music, and at 25 years on the air, is one of Louisiana’s longest running local radio programs. It’s doubtful whether any other regional band in America has its own syndicated radio program.
One of the band’s proudest accomplishments is their charity work, using their talents to raise money and awareness for various worthy causes. Harrington figures there is no band in Louisiana that has played more charity gigs and raised more money for charitable causes than The Moondogs.
When he was asked how much longer he thought that The Moondogs would keep playing ‘The Stuff That Screams Are Made Of,’ Harrington laughed and said, “I’ll give you the same answer that we give when people ask us at a concert or event what time we will stop playing. We always tell them that we will continue to play till the police make us quit.”
When Harrington was then asked whether the authorities had ever had to intervene to stop a Moondogs’ performance, Harrington simply smiled again, winked, shrugged his shoulders and said, “I’ll never tell, you’ll just have to come out to a show to find out for yourself.” You can check out Johnny Earthquake and The Moondogs at their website: themoondogs.com or go to their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/johnnyearthquakeandthemoondogs.